Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fun New Drinks, Food at Bahama Breeze Happy Hour

Jumbo Lump Crab Stack 
Photo by Shad Bookout
It amazes me that, every time I visit a Bahama Breeze, there is something new to eat or drink. In fact, the menu is so extensive now, that Bahama Breeze has switched to a book menu, like the one Cheesecake Factory uses. The restaurant has added a number of entrees - including four different Rice Bowls - along with small plates and snacks for sharing.

We went to Bahama Breeze's Altamonte Springs, Fla., location recently to check out new dishes and drinks, since the chain recently launched Late Night Happy Hour. During the happy hours (Mon.-Fri., 4-6 p.m. and Sun.-Thurs., 10 p.m.-close) there are several apps at half price and amazing drink specials. draft beers are $2, wine is $2 off, certain specialty drinks are $4 and certain classic cocktails are only $3. This is a great deal!

Daisy de Santiago
We tried two new drinks: the Yaka Hula Hickey Dula (I dare you to say that five times in a row) and the Daisy de Santiago. We loved them both. The Yaka Hula, made with pineapple juice, dark rum and Riesling, is very flavorful but may be too sweet for some. The Daisy de Santiago, made with Barcadi rum, lime juice, and mint leaves, is so light and refreshing. If you like a sweeter drink, though, this may not be the one for you.

Now on to small plates. We tried some new ones as well as old favorites. My new favorite app there is the Skillet Simmered Jerk Shrimp, which is tender, large shrimp in a thyme butter sauce. It comes with a big bread baguette to soak up the sauce. This is a perfect marriage, and is enough for an entree. The Jump Lump Crab Stack is definitely beautiful to look at, but I would like more flavor or citrus with it. The Jamaican Chicken Wings, marinated in jerk seasoning, always have an excellent flavor and are cooked perfectly. The onion rings are huge, with a light and crispy breading and yummy dipping sauce.

Skillet Jerk Shrimp
Bahama Breeze has also introduced a few new Rice Bowls recently. We tried the Carnitas, which is slow roasted pork (which is very tender), along with corn, garbanzo beans and plantains. I really liked this one, but also would like to see a little more flavor or kick. The Chipotle Beef Rice Bowl was also one of the favorites at our table and the Shrimp Creole is really good (just don't expect the spice that you normally get from a "Creole" dish).

It is hard to save room for dessert, but we forced ourselves, since Bahama Breeze has such great made-in-house desserts. The Key Lime Pie is one of the best I have had. I love the thick graham crust that is undoubtedly made from scratch and the lime flavor that is not too tart. Besides Bahama Breeze's fun atmosphere, I always go there for quality, affordable Caribbean food and truly, some of the best specialty drinks in town.

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